Written by ManyChat Contributor

July 20, 2021

If you’re thinking about running a contest, sweepstakes, or giveaway, a chatbot can be a valuable addition to your campaign — especially if you’re looking to build brand awareness on social media.

Not only do giveaways build brand awareness, but they also have the potential to support growth marketing objectives when you ask people to create or share user-generated content. You’re basically planning a virtual freebie with parties. Fun, right?

You may be surprised to learn, however, that launching a contest is more complex than simply building a bot and giving away free stuff, and you need to pay close attention to sweepstakes laws and regulations. 

The following steps will help you execute a high performing campaign without worry.

Research giveaway laws

There are national and regional laws, which vary by country, that govern contests and promotions. These laws exist to protect consumers from abuse such as companies promising prizes that do not, in fact, exist. Furthermore, some governments consider certain types of sweepstakes (i.e. requiring entrants to engage with certain online games) to be a form of online gambling. 

Companies have paid hefty fines for being in violation of these laws, so it’s important to take precautions to understand the dos and don’ts of your unique business.

In the eyes of legislators and lawyers, giveaways fall into several different categories. Here’s one breakdown of this concept from Jim Belosic, the CEO of ShortStack, a company that creates software for giveaways:

  • In a sweepstakes, entrants can win a prize with no purchase, payment, or consideration necessary. Winning happens purely by chance.
  • With a contest, people are typically required to  use personal efforts, skills, or merit to win a prize; and winning isn’t left to chance but by selection. For instance, people may need to upload a photo, video, or piece of writing before being chosen as the winer. 
  • For a lottery, entrants need to make a purchase of some kind (like a ticket) in order to win. Keep in mind that private lotteries are illegal in some states, and it’s illegal for U.S. citizens to participate in a foreign lottery.

While the above overview is generally applicable to the entire United States, individual state governments have their own policies. For instance, you’ll notice that sweepstakes often prohibit entrants in New York or Florida from participating due to strict state laws.

For these reasons, it’s a good idea to talk to a lawyer before running a giveaway and make sure you’re taking the necessary precautions to stay compliant. You may need to include language in your terms and conditions to prevent a potential problem.

Stay up-to-date with Facebook’s promotions policy

In addition to understanding government regulations, it’s important to familiarize yourself with Facebook’s terms and conditions around giveaways. Check up on these before running any giveaway or promotion because Facebook has been known to update its policies without notifying users —. be proactive to stay on top of the latest updates and  avoid violations.

Find these policies in Facebook’s terms and conditions in its “pages, groups, and events policy.”  

In general, Facebook’s terms request that you:

  • Run your campaign in accordance with the law.
  • Create official rules.
  • Establish terms and eligibility requirements.
  • Be clear about the steps needed to enter.
  • A complete liability release of Facebook by each entrant in the participation process
  • Clear acknowledgement that Facebook does not enforce, administer, or promote the event

Facebook also specifies restrictions for where and how each entrant can operate a campaign. For instance, you can only administer your promotion on Pages, Groups, Events, or within apps. 

Keep in mind that Messenger by Facebook is not included on this list; so if you’re thinking about creating a chabot as part of your giveaway campaign funnel, you may want to use a platform like UpCounsel to find a lawyer who can advise your specific business on how to move forward.

The big takeaway here is that you are operating your promotion at your own risk, even if you choose to use third-party software, and to be mindful of these precautions.

Plan your giveaway campaign

Now for the fun part: planning your giveaway.

The process for planning a giveaway is similar to other marketing campaigns. Start by determining which audience(s) you’re trying to reach and what goals you want to achieve. As an example, to reach parents in a geographic area who may be interested in learning about your children’s clothing business, ask them to to upload and share a fun photo of the family dressed up for Halloween. You’ll increase brand awareness through a (cute) viral loop.

As you plan your campaign, a simple framework to organize it is one journalists use — who, what, where, when, why, and how.

  • Who do you want to reach?
  • What will your audience gain by participating in your campaign?
  • Where are the people you are trying to reach?
  • When would you like to administer this campaign?
  • Why is this giveaway worthwhile or valuable from a brand building perspective?
  • How can people participate?

By answering these foundational questions, you can translate your plan into a course of action.

Develop your giveaway experience

With a campaign foundation in place, the next step is to start creating your giveaway experience. What will the program look like?

For this stage, it’s valuable to look for sources of inspiration. Finding inspiration in other successful campaigns helps you connect the dots between different elements of your own giveaway campaign, without necessarily reinventing the wheel.

Here are a few resources that can support your research:

  • Here’s a case study from a musician who hosted a Facebook giveaway. The goal for this campaign was to boost subscriptions to a membership-based website. The campaign resulted in a $200,000+ revenue boost via a new sales pipeline.
  • Another resource is a curation of promo giveaway ideas. Check it out if you’d like more detail around giveaway growth drivers (i.e. themes, actions that you want your audiences to take, promotion tips, etc.).
  • If you’re an Amazon shop owner, this resource is chock-full of ideas for boosting leads and growing awareness around your business.

The next step is to create your first giveaway brand asset (or landing page), which could look like a webpage, microsite, or blog post. Introduce your giveaway through this asset, providing clear instructions on how to enter as well as a  link to your terms and conditions. For even more ideas and  examples, check outManyChat’s 2018 Chatbot building contest and here is ManyChat’s 2019 holiday giveaway.

Build your giveaway bot

Now that your foundations are in place, you’re ready to build your chatbot. 

There are a few different ways to integrate a bot into your campaign, including:

  • As a pathway for people to discover the contest.
  • As a platform for people to enter your contest
  • As a way to continue a discussion with participants after they enter.

Let’s look at how to build a giveaway campaign inside ManyChat. This flow will enter contacts into your giveaway, collect email addresses, and offer participants other chances to win, all in Facebook Messenger. 

Step 1: Choose your trigger

ManyChat offers many different Growth Tools to get people into your giveaway bot. These include website widgets, m.me links, and keywords that people can message you with to enter the campaign. 

For this giveaway, we’ll use a keyword trigger. When a participant wants to enter your giveaway or content, they will just need to enter the word ‘giveaway’ in Messenger. 

setting keyword for giveaway

You can change this Keyword by clicking the trigger in the Starting Step and entering your selected Keyword. Just be sure to ‘save’ your Keyword!

Ask users to Direct Message (DM) you with your Keyword from a Facebook story, Facebook ad, Lives, Posts, and more. 

Step 2: Create your welcome message

This is the first message your contact receives when entering the Messenger conversation. Personalize it if possible and make the messaging friendly and warm.

message and condition step set up

You’ll notice a Condition step after your welcome message. This Condition step checks to see whether a contact has any value in the Custom Field ‘Giveaway Entry.’

If they do, it means they’ve already gone through this flow and earned at least 1 entry, which will result in the following ‘already entered’ message. This giveaway lets participants continue to earn entries after signing up (which is a step we’ll cover later in this tutorial). 

message and condition step set up #2

If the contact has not entered the giveaway yet, they have a different conversation with your brand. 

Step 3: Build an Action step

This next step helps you keep track of participants’ entries and actions inside your bot. For the sake of simplicity, we won’t go into detail about every Action in ManyChat. Learn more about them in this support article

Condition and action step set up for giveaway

Set the following preferences in your Action step: 

  • Custom Field ‘Giveaway_Actions_Taken’ increases by ‘1’
  • Custom Field ‘Timestamp’ captures time/date of action taken
  • Custom Field ‘Giveaway_Entries’ increases by 1
  • Conversion Event ‘Giveaway Entries’, which logs conversions for customer entry into Giveaway.
  • Google Sheets Action ‘Insert Row’ puts giveaway & contact data from ManyChat to a Google Sheet. You must enable the Google Sheets integration to use this. 

When you finish creating your Action step, create a Messenger block as your next step.

Step 4: Confirm the entry

From your Action step, create the following message to confirm a participant’s entry. Here we’ll also entice people to earn extra points for the giveaway. 

Confirming entry

Use a Quick Reply button here so contacts can press and go to the next message. In this flow, we only want to trigger Message #3 when they press the button. 

Step 5: Collect email address 

This next message will collect a contact’s email address in exchange for more giveaway entries.

collecting email address for giveaway in ManyChat

You’ll want to use a User Input block in Message #3 to gather the contact’s email. Make sure to set the Reply Type to email and check that both Save Email to System Field and Set Email Opt-In is toggled on. 

setting reply type for manychat giveaway campaign

Be sure to ask for consent/permission as regulated in your country to send emails to them in your message copy. Emails are automatically saved to your contact’s System Field and automatically marked as opted-in to your Email channel.

If the contact does not respond, send a follow-up message that lets them know it’s OK they didn’t answer, and they can still earn entries another way. 

rejection message

If the contact does respond, create an Action step again to update their information in your ManyChat CRM. 

action and message set up

Actions in this step include:

  • (Updated) Custom Field ‘Giveaway_Points’ increases by 5
  • (New) Conversion Event ‘Giveaway – Emails’ logs conversion for Email opt-ins from contacts

After your Action step, create a message that tells the contact how many entries they have. Insert Custom Field ‘Giveaway_Entries’ in this message to pull the contact’s current entries in the giveaway.

Bonus Step: More ways to win

Want to take your giveaway one step further and engage participants? In this flow example, all conversations lead to one final message. This message gives people the chance to earn more entries by mentioning the brand in a Facebook Story. 

more ways to win for giveaway campaign

The options are endless here. You could promote more entries through anything: joining a loyalty program, following you on Instagram, sharing with friends.

Deploy your campaign

Launching your campaign is a rewarding experience. Make sure you include enough time for people to submit entries — at least 30 days, unless you already have an established audience. The lead time will give you the opportunity to promote your campaign and build awareness around your offer.

At some point your giveaway will end, so make sure you think through your long-term campaign strategies. How will you utilize these contacts on your list? What about the user-generated content (if any) you asked entrants to create?

Think about the long-term conversations you want to be having and where your giveaway strategy fits into the equation.

Level up your brand communications with a chatbot. Sign up for a free trial with ManyChat.

The contents of this blog were independently prepared and are for informational purposes only. The opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ManyChat or any other party. Individual results may vary.